Pizza tastes great — that’s probably something we can all agree on. Unfortunately, the cheesy goodness delivered to your door doesn’t really fit into any of the keys to successful nutrition.
You can’t train for an event or set a goal to lose weight if you’re living off of cookies, Auntie Ann’s pretzels, and ice cream. The heavy amounts of sugar and fats are only going to slow you down when you head to the gym for a workout. If you’re shooting for a PR, eating foods that aren’t properly fueling your body are going to make you fall short and quite possibly on your face.
If you’re ready to start working out consistently, that’s great, but you can’t completely change your lifestyle on exercise alone. Working out is just a piece to the puzzle, so you can’t forget about what you’re eating. This cannot be stressed enough. Building habits and getting active are important when you start out, but without the keys to successful nutrition you’re quickly going to start treading water.
You could be working hard and feeling great in the moment, but if you’re not giving your body the right fuel and most importantly the right amount of fuel, you won’t be able to perform at your best or make the changes you want. The keys to successful nutrition are found in making sure what you’re eating matches your fitness goals.
Keys to Successful Nutrition: Make a Plan That Works for You
If you’re training for a marathon, you’re going to want to eat differently than someone who is training for a functional fitness competition. There’s no “one size fits all” nutrition plan because no one has the exact same goals in mind, and no one starts off in the same place.
Sure, there’s a general rule of foods you should stay away from and foods that are great for you. Yet what’s great for runners might not be as beneficial for lifters, and there still might be something different that’s going to benefit you best.
What’s most important is taking the time to sit down and review what your goals actually are. Where do you want to go with your fitness and your life? What are you trying to achieve? Once you’ve got that figured out, make a log of everything you’re eating for a week. Everything. That means all the drinks, slices of cakes, and extra helpings of butter on your toast.
When you’re done, take a look at what your diet consists of. Look for things you can immediately cut out no matter what your goals are. For example, if you’re looking to lose weight and eating a pack of Pop Tarts every single day, you’d be surprised what change would happen if you, (guess what we’re going to say) stopped eating Pop Tarts.
Fast food is another easy one to cut out. We’re guessing you aren’t getting the chicken breast sandwich and a salad and tossing the bun. Those four dollar meals add up, both in your wallet and in your gut. You can make large strides in your health just by removing obvious unhealthy foods from your diet.
The next step is to talk to someone who actually understands nutrition. A nutritionist or personal coach can help you identify what kinds of foods are going to help you most as you work towards your goals. Talking to someone is the best way to figure out what you should and should not be eating, and they’ll easily be able to help you create a plan for what you’re eating.
Here’s a hint. If your coach thinks the plan is complex, you should consider a new coach. While fighting the urge to eat junk may not be, one of the keys to successful nutrition is that the process and plan should be relatively easy.
Looking to count calories or macros? A coach is the way to go, especially if it’s something you’re trying for the first time. They’ll be able to help you get started and keep you on track throughout the course of your plan. Having someone to hold you accountable is a great asset, especially with nutrition. It’s a lot of work to change what you’re eating, but once you really get started you might find that instead of craving that extra large pizza, you’re actually craving something that’s good for you.
When you’re working out, you have to realize that what you eat is essentially turned into energy or fuel for your body. A key to successful nutrition is that you have to eat the right foods and again, the right amount of food to provide you with the right amount of energy to function and perform your best in all aspects of your life. This isn’t just about the gym, ultimately this is about life performance.
On the other hand, this isn’t at all about a restrictive diet. While kale is great for you, if you can’t stand the taste of kale, don’t force yourself to eat it everyday. One of the most important keys to successful nutrition and eating is you don’t have to force yourself to eat things you hate, (unless you hate all vegetables, you need to try to like some of them).
Successful nutrition doesn’t have to be a struggle. If you’re dreading your next meal, talk to a coach about what foods you can eat. They’ll be able to show you fun recipes you can try. There are plenty of healthy foods out there that you can find one you like that’s also going to benefit you.